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"All We Hear is Radio Ga Ga…" by Gary Taylor

ALL WE HEAR IS RADIO GA GA… Filming of the Radio Ga Ga promotional video by Gary Taylor.

24th November 1983: Shepperton Studios

After an invite from the Official Queen Fan Club, around 500 fans gathered at Shepperton Studios to help the band and director David Mallet, film their most expensive video yet. 

I got an invite at very short notice but managed to arrange my transport via ferry and trains, from the Isle Of Wight, where I lived, to Surrey, where the video shoot was taking place.

When I arrived at the studio area, there were already a lot of fans gathered. It seemed a very long time before we were led from a large holding hall to a small back room, where we were given white paper trousers and tops with a tight hood. We had to put this on over our clothes and we were then spray painted with a silver colour paint to various parts of our costumes. We soon found out we were to become the faceless workers kneeling before the band. We also had to sign an agreement form, that the use of photography and recording equipment would not be used, or was it so we couldn’t claim royalties… don’t think I even read it properly, I was so excited. 

When we were shown into the main studio where the video was being filmed, the band were already on stage, having make up adjusted and looking really good in their red and black costumes. Very futuristic. Luckily I was one of the first in and headed to the stage in front of John Deacon. A few of us were sniggering at this point, as nobody had ever seen John's hair as wild and big as it was on that day.

When we were all in, the rows behind were all adjusted into neat rows and the few of us at the front were asked to kneel on the steps that led up to the stage. I managed to keep my position in front of John and as I recall knelt on the third step up. They played the new 'Radio Ga Ga' single through the sound speakers a number of times so we could familiarise ourselves with this new song. The director also got us to rehearse the hand clapping sequences for the chorus, as that was all we were being filmed for, and seemed to go on for ages until we all got it right. We also had to bow our heads while raising our arms, which was very uncomfortable after a while.

Looking around the studio, you could see some of the other props that were going to be used for more scenes in the video. I remember seeing the wall that cracks open in the video hanging from the roof, and thought how large and imposing it was.

During the breaks between takes, we could chat and look in awe at our heroes in front of us - it was just so surreal. I gathered up the courage and asked Freddie if I could have the polystyrene beaker he was sipping out of. He leant down to me offering the cup and said something like "It's vodka and tonic, my dear". As I took it from him, I drank the rest of the contents, as there was only a mouthful left in there.

At the end of the shoot, the band all hung around to chat to us and sign autographs. Thankfully I took a black biro pen in with me and managed to get all the band to sign the arm of my costume and Freddie's beaker, that I was now guarding with my life. I spoke to Freddie as he was being ushered out of the building, and told him what a great day it had been and how good he looked. He was in a hurry but thanked me and added a flippant remark with something like, “Of course my dear, don’t I always.”

I took some photos too, with a new camera I had bought a few months before. As I wasn’t used to it, only a few turned out well, but was a great reminder of an unbelievable day. Unfortunately, like some other photos, they have been mislaid over the years, but that day will remain in my memory bank for a lifetime.

Gary Taylor

November 2015

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8 Comments

"All We Hear is Radio Ga Ga…" by Gary Taylor

Greg Brooks

Greg brooks is a sex pest

Jon Masters

Such memories - bunking off school and getting 2 trains and a tube from North London. Made 2 great friends - Lucy & Karen - where are they now?? - Shared a portion of chips with them on the way home. And they came with me to 4 nights out of 4 at Wembley Arena for the 84 Works tour. I think I was about 8 rows back. Still, managed to get Fred to sign the sleeve of my white suit which I kept until my ex decided to bin it when my parents moved house. :( . Not a happy boy. JRD, BHM and RMT all signed my Pentax Club membership card. I thnk that suffered the same fate too. Still, these memories cannot be taken away from me. Got an invite also to go to the Break Free filming but my parents wouldn't let me!! I was 17 at the time and this happened 3 weeks before I passed my driving test... I do remember a bit of a guarded reaction from us fans once GaGa was played in full. Now a timeless classic plus the mega bonus of I Go Crazy on the flip side. Wonderful experience and thanks to all that were there and those that made such a tiring but brilliant day with my heroes x

David Macků

Great story Gary, especially about that polystyrene beaker, super! :-D

Mike Gardiner

I was there too, such a long day but one I will never forget. I too was at the front by John, so we must have been almost next to each other. Was fantastic being so close to the band..

Nicolas Boivin

Congratulation for that moment.....

Stephen Bryce

Hi Guys , Gordon Elliman I was on the other side of the shot with the hands they are my hands on the right hand side as you look at the video , I often wondered who it was on the other side. Like you I had a ten pound note signed by Freddie I remember him saying any advicane on ten pounds .. as he signed it..lol,, it was a great day I travelled down from Liverpool with my friend Jim Jenkins as he knew I was a big Queen fan to. Fab memories of a great day in Sheperton ..

Robert Turner

I was another one of those 500 fans that took part in the filming with two friends and like you managed to get all the bands autographs, we were about 3 rows back from the stage and can see all 3 of us in the final video, sadly in my many moves over the years I mislaid the ciggy packet they all signed. It was a great experience and one I will always remember and cherish along with the live shows I was lucky to see them perform, wonderful times indeed.

Gordon Elliman

I was there also on that day, I was in the seventh row in the middle and had to move to one side as the camera moved in for close ups. My hands were used in the video itself. I also remember them giving us sticky buns to eat before the shoot. I still have my white suit and an old five pound note they all signed for me.. How strange it seems now that only 8 years, to the day, after the shoot Freddie would leave us.

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